The most common form of custody after a divorce in the modern era is joint custody. With joint custody, both parents share legal and/or physical custody of the children to varying degrees. This is the most common arrangement because children do best with both of their parents involved in their lives, even if the parents divorce.

However, if you have a rocky relationship with your ex-spouse, you may prefer to have sole custody of your children. However, according to FindLaw, it is very unlikely that you will receive sole custody of children unless your ex-spouse struggles with addiction or has a history of violence.

What is legal and physical custody?

Legal custody refers to your right as a parent to make decisions regarding education, religious development and medical care on behalf of your child. If you and your spouse have joint legal custody, this means that both of you are in charge of making these decisions and compromising on them.

Physical custody refers to where the child resides. In a joint custody situation, the child will reside equally with both parents unless special arrangements are in place. With sole custody, the child typically resides at one parent’s house and will have visitation with the other parent.

Why can I not get sole custody?

If there is a clear and present danger to the child, you must bring this up to the judge at the custody hearing. Otherwise, simply not wishing to parent with your ex-spouse is not a good enough reason for sole custody. The family law courtroom will seek to do everything in its power to protect the interest of children. Again, because children typically thrive with both parents in their lives, joint custody is the most common custody arrangement.